Below is a gallery of wildflowers of the upper chaparral in Southern California. You will find the names with labels under the enlarged pictures when you click on them.
Southern California may be best known for its California Poppies, but it has a wealth of flowering natives that are eye-catching as well as useful. Native Indians lived off of the native produce of the land and with all the fancy garden imports, we sometimes forget to look to the amazing gifts nature has to offer right under our noses! We have plenty of local beauty we can use in our own gardens and landscapes — or just enjoy when hiking in late winter or early spring.
Most of the photos were taken during the early part of the first decade of 2000 when there were some good rainstorms producing impressive wildflower blooms. After 2010 we have had a succession of dry winters leading to very little growth and , of course, less in the way of flowers. Wildflowers perform differently and can even look different depending on the micro-climate where they grow. The majority of these photos were taken in the inland parts of the Southern California chaparral at elevations above 2000 feet. Some of these same plants grow well in lower elevations, too. Hopefully, we will experience another generous rainy season before too much longer. There are millions of seeds still waiting for good conditions to return so they can germinate and show off their blooms. I look forward to that time so I can take some larger photos than those allowed by the camera I owned when these current shots were taken.
Flowering plants have been grouped by color in an effort to make identification searches easier. Plants may look a bit different in different soils and exposures, but most of the photos should be sufficient to identify the varieties.
If you should find a plant that you know and is not included here, please feel free to leave a comment or ask for a guest posting. We would be happy to add any more Southern California wildflowers with correct identification to this page. (You will be credited on any photos you take.) There are other areas of Southern California with micro-climates that produce additional wildflowers and we would be delighted to offer expanded information to our viewers. Coastal, desert, mountain and southern areas sometimes have biomes all of their own and offer entirely different plants or other varieties, cousins to those growing in the areas covered on these pages. Please feel free to contact us if you can help.